'We're the natural point of entry into French racing'
The FRBC gears up for the Arqana Breeze-Up sale in Deauville
With Deauville's blockbuster weekend of sales and Classics fast approaching, Cecile Adonias explains how the French Racing and Breeding Committee continues to work as a gateway to the country for foreign owners and breeders.
Tell us a little bit about the FRBC's mission
The FRBC started in 2000 and our mission is to attract foreign investors, be it to buy horses (for export or to have them in training here) and to breed in France.
Let's say you wanted to buy a horse. We would discuss your needs and then put you in contact with an agent.
We provide the dates of various sales, outline the differences in the type of horses offered at each and then, if that person requires further information, direct their enquiry to the appropriate person.
The idea of the FRBC really is to never leave a question unanswered and to satisfy a client’s enquiry, either through our own knowledge, or by bringing in the appropriate expertise of others.
Can you help with looking for a trainer in France?
If someone comes to us looking for a trainer, we would sit down with them to define their criteria in terms of place, age, which language they speak. We wouldn't recommend one trainer over another but instead draw up a list of suitable candidates and potentially make the introductions.
From A to Z, everything is in place to fashion a racehorse in the best possible conditions at our internationally renowned training centres.
Each time I take visitors to Chantilly or Maisons-Laffitte, they are amazed by the environment, which is totally different to Australia or the United States with their on-track training. They get the impression in the forest of being somewhere completely different, yet remain very close to Paris, which is a great advantage.
What are the advantages of racing in France?
A French-bred horse that races in France is that they are eligible for generous premiums. The owners’ premiums are 64 per cent [of prize-money] for horses between two and four years old, and 43 per cent for horses aged five or older.
For example, if your horse in that lower age bracket wins €10,000, they will earn a premium of €6,400 on top of that. That is certainly an advantage in comparison with other countries. There is also the very important breeders’ premiums, which can add up to as much as 21 per cent and which are calculated on the basis of prize-money plus the owners’ premiums.
We have world-renowned stallions as well as some of the best races in the world in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Prix Jacques le Marois, the Diane and the Jockey Club. There is a great history and racing today of an extremely high standard, staged on magnificent racecourses.
Have you seen renewed interest from abroad in French-based stallions ?
Today we receive more and more requests from foreign breeders who want to send their mares to be covered in France. And we are not just dealing with breeders who take their mares back home once they have been covered by a French stallion, but instead choose to leave them here, thus taking advantage of the breeders’ premiums.
They recognise the whole system puts value in at every stage. Today we have Le Havre, Kendargent, Siyouni and Wootton Bassett - a real plethora of young stallions full of promise - as well as leading jumps sires including Saint Des Saints, Poliglote, Martaline and many others. There are new stallions who emerge almost every day. It is a very dynamic pool of stallions.
What can you tell us about the new French Black Type website?
In partnership with France Galop we have developed the French Black type site, which has details of every such race on the Flat and over jumps. It is written in English to make it more accessible and has details of the entry dates, fees and conditions, penalty structures, really all the information needed.
There is a complimentary menu which explains everything from the steps involved in entering a horse from abroad to contact details for reserving a table in a racecourse restaurant. The idea is to pull together all the key information in one place.
And it is completely searchable: by Flat of jumping; by category; by distance; by age. And you can refine your search by as many or as few criteria as you want to build the profile of the type of race you are interested in.
French black type races are of a very high standard and many carry a good rating [with the European Pattern Committee] as well as very good prize-money. The site has a lot of advantages, and it is in English !
What other services can the FRBC offer foreign visitors?
We help clients who come in search of assistance with entries, who want to come racing in France, perhaps reserve a table at a racecourse restaurant. We organise visits to morning training, as well as to stud farms and can help with accommodation and all aspects of managing a trip.
We also offer an after sales service for buyers who need information from France Galop, for example if they need help with a contract of association or to be put in contact with the relevant help. It is a comprehensive after sales service.
The team are on site at all the sales held by Arqana and Osarus and on all the major racedays. We regularly travel to meet foreign owners and also attend such events as the various regional AQPS shows.
We are the natural point of entry into French racing and breeding and it is a service which is broad and thorough.